Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and autism are both general terms for a group of complex disorders of brain development. These disorders are characterized, in varying degrees, by difficulties in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication and repetitive behaviors. With the May 2013 publication of the DSM-5 diagnostic manual, all autism disorders were merged into one umbrella diagnosis of ASD. Previously, they were recognized as distinct subtypes, including autistic disorder, childhood disintegrative disorder, pervasive developmental disorder-not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS) and Asperger syndrome.
ASD can be associated with intellectual disability, difficulties in motor coordination and attention and physical health issues such as sleep and gastrointestinal disturbances. Some persons with ASD excel in visual skills, music, math and art.
The triad of impairments in autistic children typically cause children to have difficult interacting with others, impairment in socializing and communication, and learning disabilities. This is a life-long developmental disability, and for anyone that knows a family with an autistic child, you know how arduous this can be on them physically, psychologically, and financially. Current reasearch favors the following diverse components to be the cause of autism:
- Neurochemical Imbalance